News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has provided  $500,000 to help upgrade Pierce County's emergency response communication system. The funding will go to Pierce County, Tacoma, and Puyallup to extend the system to smaller communities and fix communication gaps. The funding was included in the 2008 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. Senator Murray is a member of the Appropriations Committee. 

"This funding will help build out the communications network that Pierce County has implemented to equip first responders and protect residents," said Senator Murray. "It will help the system reach smaller communities who will need information in the event of a natural disaster, terrorist event, or other emergency."

The Cities of Tacoma and Puyallup began upgrading Pierce County jurisdictions to an 800 Mhz communications system for seamless communications in 2004. However, significant gaps still exist in the network, and additional upgrades and linkages are necessary – particularly to ensure that smaller communities are connected to the emergency response system. The funding Murray secured will help Puyallup and Tacoma move forward with building out the rest of the communications system to those communities and will help fix any gaps in the system. 

When complete, the Pierce County system would work seamlessly with King and Snohomish County so a police officer in Tacoma would be able to talk to a police officer in Seattle or Everett. 

The City of Puyallup is home to the Emergency Operations Center that is the backbone of the system. 

Puyallup Mayor Mike Deal praised Senator Murray for securing funding to expand the system:

"Puyallup and Pierce Country first responders need to be able to talk to each other, and fellow police and firefighters in surrounding communities.  The City of Puyallup’s Public Safety Interoperability Network Project is a major financial commitment to eventually connect public safety officers with their colleagues throughout the Central Puget Sound region."

"Once again, Senator Murray has proven her leadership in providing significant Federal help to solve major problems in our communities.  The entire Puyallup community – especially our first responders – truly appreciate Senator Murray’s tremendous support for this project. Senator Murray’s support helps Puyallup and our neighboring jurisdictions address emergency situations that just don’t stop where city limits are drawn."

The CJS Appropriations bill passed the full Appropriations Committee today and will now move to the Senate floor where it will be considered by the full Senate.